Real Salt Lake Pose Best Attack In Club History

Feb 25, 2019, 2:28 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm
Jefferson Savarino #7 of Real Salt Lake, right, celebrates after scoring against the Colorado Rapid...
Jefferson Savarino #7 of Real Salt Lake, right, celebrates after scoring against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on August 25, 2018 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It is finally here, game week. The MLS season kicks off this weekend with Real Salt Lake going on the road to play the Houston Dynamo.

There are many stories entering the season for RSL, one which we will discuss today, is this the most prolific attack in the history of Real Salt Lake?

Throughout this article we will go through position groups and the players associated to that position to try and figure out the type of impact the attack can play this season.

Could New Life Bring New Goals For Real Salt Lake?

Lets start with the new acquisition at striker, Sam Johnson. Johnson was acquired from Valerenga, a first tier club in Norway’s premier league. Prior to Norway, he had stints in China and Sweden.

Johnson is 25 years old and represents Liberia at a national level. He has 60 goals in 159 appearances across all levels of competition throughout his career.

The newcomer has the ability to break games open with his speed and ability to finish. What separates Johnson from the rest of Real Salt Lake’s striking options is that he scores with both his feet and his head. His athleticism allows him to be a threat when the ball is being played into the box through the air, yet his touch and control when the ball is at his feet has defenders guessing on what his next move is.

It’s possible that Johnson could crack the starting lineup early in the season, but due to his late arrival but he should get minutes off the bench early on. Perhaps most importantly he’ll put much needed pressure on Corey Baird to perform.

Corey Baird has had quite the rise to stardom. This time last year it was unsure what role Baird would play for RSL. Since then, he has won MLS Rookie of the Year honors for his performance in a RSL kit last year and as of late earned his first two caps with the USA National Team.

Baird may be expected to score even more this year, however. Of the 31 appearances in MLS last season Baird was only able to score 8 goals. If RSL hopes to be a playoff contender in the West this year, he will need to increase his production in the scoring tally.  15-plus goals this year for the Claret and Cobalt would be a stellar season for Baird.

Savarino, Plata Sell Tickets Thanks To Their Flare

Savarino and Plata are two of the more exciting wing players in all of the MLS. Plata has been around for some time now and fans and opponents alike know what to expect from him. Savarino on the other hand is young and full of flare.

Savarino has showcased his unique ability to beat defenders off the dribble and weasel his way in and behind the back four of opposing teams. The one aspect to Savarino’s game that could use improvement is his ability to score, specifically when he is one on one with the goalkeeper. There were countless moments from the 2018 season when Savarino was unable to capitalize on sensational individual runs, failing to put the ball in the back of the net.

Real Salt Lake television analyst Brian Dunseth recently punctuated that thought.  “The attacking options in Mike Petke’s offense looks to be the most dynamic and flexible in the history of the club,” said Dunseth on KSL.

The Heartbeat Of This Team Plays At CAM

The most important and impressive position from an attacking standpoint is at center attacking midfield. Real Salt Lake just so happens to boast two of the best center attacking midfielders in the league, Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach.

Not only do they both possess the ability to score, but their movement around the ground opens up lanes for other attacking players to benefit from. The touch, control and composure they both have is second to none. When RSL is playing their best brand of football, generally, everything runs through Kreilach and/or Rusnak.

Fans should be thrilled to see these guys in action again. They are the heartbeat of the team. A big headache for Mike Petke however is how does he utilize them both? Last season Kreilach played a lot of football in the middle of the pitch, allowing Rusnak to play at CAM. This year things could change.  Kreilach could start at CM or CDM and Rusnak at CAM, but as the game plays out either Savarino or Plata will come off allowing Rusnak to push onto the wing and Kreilach to CAM. Mullholand, Beckerman or Luiz would then come off the bench to fill the void that Kreilach left at CM/CDM.

Real Salt Lake go on the road to play the Houston Dynamo this Saturday, March 2nd, at 4 pm MT.

Beer Bar is hosting an official watch party for all RSL fans.

  • Real Salt Lake Scoreboard

  • Real Salt Lake Team Leaders

  • Real Salt Lake Standings

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Real Salt Lake Pose Best Attack In Club History